In the "Community and Environment" course of the 2014 fall semester, the students are working on project-based learning about the sixth industrialization* of Makomodake production that the Kayagasawa region in Yuwa, Akita City, is trying to achieve. (*Not only production of agricultural products but also processing, distribution, and sales of them are integrally combined to increase value of agricultural business. In other words, the primary sector of agricultural economy (1) will be combined with the secondary (2) and tertiary (3) sectors: 1 + 2 + 3 = 6). As part of the fieldwork in class, the students participated in harvesting and bagging Makomodake in the Kayagasawa region on Saturday, October 18, and then helped sales and sample tasting of it at the market festival in the Akita Wholesale Market on the following day.
Through interaction and cooperation with the local residents and consumers, the students realized the hard work of harvesting, the strict standards for commercialization, and the difficulty in conveying merits of Makomodake to consumers, and were earnestly engaged in the project. Experiencing from harvest to sales, the students became able to think of Makomodake and issues in the community from more diverse viewpoints.
The comments made by residents in the Kayagasawa region after the sales included the following: "The students helped us a lot"; "Through accepting the students, we were also given suggestions"; and "We would like this project to continue next year." After deepening what they learned from the fieldwork, the students will visit the Kayagasawa region again in November, the next month, and each of the three student groups will conduct a study under a research theme different from each other.